Part 2 of the 4-part story "The Wolf Beneath the Tree." Atrocity is piled on atrocity as Fenris the Wolf continues to devour gods, growing more powerful by the mouthful. Meanwhile, the table is set in the halls of Destiny, where Lucifer, Michael and Elaine discover that the crisis facing the whole of Creation is much worse than they imagined.
In Philadelphia two women sit on a park bench that faces a small children's playground containing a play structure that is currently entertaining several children. One is silent, cool and collected while the other seems frantic, on the brink of insanity, spilling out the weight that burdens her. She says she's never really talked to anyone about the children before but she just feels a gut feeling that she can trust the other woman.
The woman says she doesn't understand the modern world, a world where children are carrying guns, dealing drugs, wearing thongs, etc. Of course she goes on to say she didn't understand the old days either when young boys would go off to war with glee, but for those who would return, their youth would be washed away in blood and destruction. She knows it's not like things were ever good, but still it the present day burdens her.
Idun, the frantic woman, pauses in her own rant to ask the woman with the sunglasses if she'll be staying long. Bet Jo'gie responds, "No. Just for today, I'm the bait, Idun. And the cover, too. I fill your eyes and fox your senses so that Fenris can get in close." As she speaks, Idun rises off the park bench and begin to stutter the name of Fenris in fear when suddenly a massive spear appears out of nowhere, protruding out Idun's back and pinning her body to the park bench she had been sitting on a moment ago.
As Idun sits there with a spear in her chest, Bet tells her that as the god of youth she was getting too old and Fenris approaches them, in broad daylight, kids running around. Idun then acknowledges that Bet had tricked her but frantically tries to spare her own life by mentioning that she ate at The Wolf's table, but she is cut off as he transforms into the mighty wolf and her blood and entrails splatter the face of Bet Jo'gie and fill the stomach of The Wolf.
In Texas, inside an asylum, Charlie Gilmour believes God has spoken to him yet again, but he is bewildered as to what the message means. He saw all the walls fall down around him and there was a tree, and at the tree his wife Sarah and son Bobby were waiting for him. His mind than flashes back to a memory of when he holds the bloody hammer in his hands, his wife and son on covered in their own blood. Charlie finally clutches his head and thinks about how much his head's been messed up thanks to the medication, he just hopes his wife and Bobby are okay.
The other patients interrupt his thoughts as they shout at him to move out of the way of their t.v. and he begins to freak out, causing guards to rush in and attack him. We then see Burch and Dr. Spears, watching Charlie from the background, debating whether or not he seems to be adjusting. The doctor says "not at all" as it seems Charlie's condition worsens every day despite the medication as he has at least seven voices in his head and believes himself to be on a quest, solitary is mentioned as an option by Burch who then asks what quest. Doctor Spears replies that is it a quest, "For a tree. With stars hanging from its branches."
Elsewhere, in the House of Destiny of the Endless, deep within the Garden of the Forking Ways, Lucifer and Elaine are seated at his table whilst he and Michael stand just beside it. Michael seems surprised and confused as to why Lucifer is in Destiny's home or if he was invited but Lucifer and Elaine respond by saying that she was told someone at Destiny's table would need her help and Lucifer was told he'd learn something to his own advantage which is why against his better judgment he is present.
Michael bitterly intercedes saying that despite the extreme urgency of his own mission, he was not invited to which Destiny replies, "You were already coming. It would have served no purpose. Please. Sit and eat." In a burst of fury, Michael sends several of the items on the table to the floor with a push, angered not just by the fact that he must wait for what he seeks but that Destiny knows what his every action and response shall be to which Lucifer says, he can sympathize with that feeling.
Destiny says that he did not mean to offend but repeats that Michael will get his answer soon. A still infuriated Michael decides to sit and simply bide his time. As they are eating at the table Lucifer offers to make a wager with Destiny that before the meal is over he'll do something not written in the book. Destiny says all things are in his book, to which Lucifer replies that just for the hell of it they should -- Destiny than interjects again saying since all things are predetermined he does not gamble. Lucifer finally replies with, "Then gamble that they're not, and you can't lose." A forgotten Elaine mutters to herself, "A glass of testosterone, anyone?"
In California, a relationship seems to crumble as Bergelmir is packing his bags, and Jill Presto simply sits on the edge of the bed. Bergelmir begs Jill to come with him, for Fenris is the embodiment of destruction, and the only way they can plan to survive the end of this world, is by going to another world. Jill doesn't answer and simply continues looking at the floor so he gets on his knees in front of her and looks up at her face, saying that he can help her with that thing inside her. When her silence continues he rises to his feet once again and heads for the door saying that he hopes the best for her, for he will not forget her soon...and than he is gone.
In Colorado, atop a hill a sauna sits, and inside a rather overweight and hairy man talks on his cellphone, listing Norse names including Idun, asking if the unrevealed person on the other side of the line doesn't see the pattern because he can see that all of those people were individuals who went to "his" banquet. The conversation is interrupted as another man enters and puts more hot coals on, just as he is supposed to every hour on the dot.
When the man leaves, the man on the phone repeats what he had said, clarifying it for the other individual. He mentions Fenris' "reconciliation dinner" again calling it the big "group hug" and after a comment from the other person, he says "maybe he changed his mind?". That is when the mist in the sauna begins to rise and a new voice interrupts, "No. I lent my mind to you, Skuld. That was what you ate, when you ate at my table. My flesh. My soul. My memories. And now I need them back."
Fenris begins devouring Skuld then, but speaks to Abonsam behind him, telling him that if he is displeased with what must be done, he can look away or do something useful. As he continues eating The Wolf decides on Abonsam's mission and says he'll take care of the other godlings but Abonsam must bring him the madman.
Back at the dinner table, the three of Yahweh's children eat their meal while Destiny simply watches. Elaine, in an effort to start up some conversation asks Michael if Heaven has returned to normal since that situation with the Titan brothers, Garamas and Gyges. Michael, still angry and bitter replies that there is no such thing as normalcy anymore as Yahweh has abandoned creation and creation is therefore breaking at the seams.
Elaine confesses that she did not know of this peril the universe is in and asks if its true to which Lucifer replies that only Yahweh's cosmos will be affected, his shall remain untouched by this. Michael interrupts at that moment to say that since it won't touch Lucifer, Lucifer does not care. Elaine then turns to Destiny after hearing this and asks him if the universe were to end, would they not be on the final page of his book and he replies that it would be so.
Everyone's attentions therefore turn to Destiny as they ask him to reveal whether or not their effort to preserve the universe is in vain to which he replies: "To read aloud from the book makes the book an element in the story it tells. The danger inherent in that is as great as the threat you seek to address. That this is a turning point in the history of creation is self-evident. The very script in which the book is written changes after this point. At such a juncture, the slightest word or gesture could tip the balance."
At that point Elaine and Michael both began to bubble over with questions but Destiny dismisses them saying he spoke thoughtlessly, and what he said is of no consequence. At hearing this Michael flies off into the heavens, and Elaine, thanking Destiny for his hospitality and apologizing for leaving, chases after her father. This leaves only Lucifer in Destiny's house which is why he says, "And then there were two. As you intended from the start."
Alone in his cell when night comes, Charlie Gilmour falls into a sleep, but when he awakes it is to a vision for he sees the tree! His yearning to be with his wife makes him think of the tree and so now it haunts his dreams, and as he rises from his cot he sees the shadowed form of a woman and runs to her, for it must be his wife. Yes as he runs to her, he says the doctor's told him she was dead but he didn't believe them...and than he gets close enough to see its not her at all, its Delirium. The two share some words but both of them seem very confused and Delirium continuously diverts on to rabbit trails as usual in their conversing, saying that she's angry but she hopes its not at him.
Back in the realm of reality, at the facility Charlie Gilmour is kept Dr. Spears follows a man and woman, both in uniform. He seems extremely surprised as he holds papers requesting a transfer for Charlie Gilmour which makes no sense to him, least of all since its happening in the middle of the night. As they reach the cell he asks the question that seals his fate, Abonsam and Bet Jo'gie turn around and she says, "If you'd been just a little more stupid, Dr. Spears -- you might have lived to be a whole lot older."
Charlie interrupts Del to say that he dreamed he'd met his wife at the tree, and that's when Delirium seems to remember what she's angry about. The fact that its not Charlie's dream, not even his delirium...and that's not supposed to be how it works...but than she gets distracted by the stars on the tree and begins on yet another tangent and Charlie leaves that place, returning to his cell, to be confined between those walls, for Sarah wasn't there and he's seeing things that aren't there again. If he wasn't seeing things that weren't there, that would mean his door's open...and...Charlie gets to his feet and finds that his door is actually open and standing in the bloody bodies of the facility's personnel, Abonsam and Bet Jo'gie stand and she says, "Hi, Charlie. We've come to take you to the real world."
Back in the Garden of the Forking Ways, Lucifer and Destiny speak with one another, Lucifer explaining why he has a distaste for Destiny. This leads to a metaphor of Lucifer's which Destiny continues upon only to summon Lucifer's wrath. Lucifer than comes to Destiny's book, tears pages from it, sets them ablaze and says, "And now we're both in the dark." To which Destiny replies, "No. Now you look at the ashes." They read, Fenris, Yggdrasil. "And now you change your mind."